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Melissa Harris- Perry

News/Business. Melissa Harris-Perry. Analysis and discussion surrounding political, cultural and community issues. New.

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Joe Biden 20, Biden 13, Paul Ryan 13, America 9, Us 9, Obama 8, Michigan 7, Sarah Palin 7, Romney 6, U.s. 6, Melissa 5, United States 4, Citi 4, Barack Obama 4, Malibu 4, New York 4, Dick Cheney 4, Clinton 4, John Edwards 3, Brown 3,
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  MSNBC    Melissa Harris- Perry    News/Business. Melissa Harris-Perry. Analysis and  
   discussion surrounding political, cultural and community issues. New.  

    October 7, 2012
    7:00 - 9:00am PDT  

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this morning, my question sm can you hear me? because i've lost my voice. stick with me. this is nerdland. we don't let a little head cold get in the way. good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. now, normally no one shows up to watch the fight that is the undercard bout. vice presidential debate usually is more like an interlude to keep us occupied while we're waiting to get back to the main event. not this time around. here in nerdland, we cannot wait
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to see what happens thursday night when vice president joe biden goes head to head with congressman paul ryan in the vice presidential debate. of course, our anticipation is heightened by the loss that the champ took in round one on wednesday night. president obama pulled a lot of his punches in his debate with governor romney, so if the original strategy was for biden to go in with a soft touch against paul ryan, we can be sure that that is going out the window. he is coming out swinging. gloves off. now, romney was able to dodge blows against his economic plan because actually there's not much of a plan there to jab at. take his strategy for economic recovery, to fill the revenue gap for a result from tax cuts is an exercise in shadow boxing futility. he hasn't yet told us what it is he's planning to do. but by hitching his wagon to paul ryan and endorsing ryan's budget plan, he attached himself to clearly articulated policy and a record that leaves the
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whole ticket exposed to attack which gives joe biden an opening to hit romney so hard -- to hit ryan so hard that mitt romney is going to feel it too. from the sound of it, the vice president seems to be getting his weight up. >> what i've been doing mostly is quite frankly, studying up on congressman ryan's positions. i just want to make sure that when i say these things that i don't have the congressman no, no, no, i don't have that position or that's not the governor's position. so it's mainly getting the factual predicates. >> when it comes to strategy thursday, in this and only this, he may want to steal a move from dick cheney. recall in 2004 when president george w. bush choked in the first of his three debates against john kerry. there was a strong performance against john edwards. cheney took one for the team playing the attack dog and allowing bush to keep his
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presidential hands clean. although i'd like to see a little more heat from president obama in debate number two, he can still keep it cool and classy while letting biden go all the way off the leash. but even before the first presidential debate, the match-up between the two guys on the bottom of the tickets promise to be a must-watched event. what we saw in the debate between president obama and governor romney was an exchange of ideas. both share a practical approach to stimulating economic growth but have different ways of getting us there. the two guys that we're going to be watching on thursday, pragmatism doesn't begin to describe them. pugilistic, not pragmatic describes these guys. get ready for a clash of the i had i can't logs. they're champions of the sweet science of political and economic thought of their respective parties. the golden boy of the economic doctrine. ryan the self-described -- the architect of the conservative
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platform, upon which the gop now stands. the plan to slash the deficit by gutting social programs and his party is saying he built that. in the other corner, a granddaddy of the base. 29 years old, joe biden became one of the youngest people ever elected to the u.s. senate. he's been steep in the political gospel of the democratic party for 40 years. he's played key roles in u.s. foreign policy as a member and chairman of the foreign committee. middle east, southwest asia, the united states has been there in the last four decades. joe biden has too. of course, congressman paul ryan who chairs the house budget committee also likes to tout his foreign policy chops. >> i have more foreign policy experience coming into this job than president obama did coming into his. >> can you explain how do you have more foreign policy experience than senator obama did. he was on the foreign relations committee. >> norah, i voted to send men and women to war.
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i've been to iraq and afghanistan. i've met with our troops to get perspectives. i've been to the funerals, i've talked to the widows, talked to the wives, the moms and the dads. that's something. that matters. >> yeah. the sitting vice president shouldn't have much problem landing a blow on a claim like that. though perhaps rather than boxing, it's more accurate to think of thursday night as tag team wrestling with each candidate making the power move that their partner missed. of course, ultimately a vice presidential candidate's relationship to his running mate is more like hulk hogan's bandana or sledgehammer, fleshy accessory. they will be in the ring on thursday and they'll both have opponent's partner firmly in their sights. with me at the table is steve kornacki, the host of the cycle and senior writer for salon.com. sigh yu is the founding director of new american leaders project. a national organization for specifically focused on preparing first and second
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general immigrants. >> robert traynham, an msnbc contributor. chloe angel, a director of -- i'm going to stop talking. what do you think is going to happen on thursday night, steve? >> i think joe biden gets a bad wrap as a politician, as a communicator and as a debater. i'm not sure when exactly it started, but sometime in the last five years. this caricature of biden as everyone's crazy uncle. it's a gaffe a minute. you never know what crazy thing he's going to say next. i think he is a skilled communicator. i think he's a strong debater. the reason he ended up on obama's ticket was because of the democratic primary debates in 2007, 2008. we forget that biden ran for president. how many debates did we step away, it's hillary, it's obama. but joe biden won this debate. i wrote that column four or five
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times in 2007, 2008. think way back. when joe biden first ran for president in the 1988 cycle. that was the plagiarism thing. but besides that, when he was running, this guy was the star order of the field. he was a young senator at the time but it was his oratory that set him apart from the rest of the field. i look at this and i say, i've always thought that obama's biggest weaknesses one of the weaknesses is debates. i think it's biden's biggest strength. i'm setting the bar really high. >> the onion teaches ruthlessly with that shirtless joe biden waxing his -- it's horrible, right? he's sort of an elder statesman of the party. you have the young upstart ryan. >> yeah. i mean, look, i agree with steve to a certain degree. i think this vice presidential debate will be reminiscent of 2000 when you had dick cheney and joe lieberman. two very smart individuals on the ticket. very thoughtful in terms of the vice presidential debate. there was not a lot of jabs back and forth. but a lot of substance.
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i think what you will find come this thursday, say whatever you want about paul ryan about being a young gun, him being arch conservative. he's very specific and smart. what we will probably see is a conversation about the budget plan. and a conversation about the wars in iraq and afghanistan in the context of the economy and how we pay for them or didn't pay for them. >> it's funny that you point out that this should be substantive. the kind of debate that we saw last week is what i thought we'd see from the vps, low key. it feels like we have to be -- we using our boxing metaphor because it's like we have to have a fight. >> i disagree. the amount of fact checking that had to be done after his nomination acceptance speech. between that and between the amount of fact checking done on romney's debate speech, i doubt very much the people will take what ryan says at face value.
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i think there's going to be ruthless fact checking. >> doesn't mean it's not going to be a substantive debate. >> it should be a substantive debate. i think it will be. i'm saying his reputation as a smart thoughtful guy is crumbling. >> do you think that voters will be looking for something specific at the vp debate? >> echoing what chloe said. there will be this desire for fact checking. if we hear a lot about data which is one of the challenges for thursday's debate. while everybody is interested in the economy, most of the polling shows that latino, asians, who expect to be interested in something different are seeing economy as a top issue. i think as latino and asian voters and other minority voters, what we want to hear about what does this data mean to me, to the bottom line. i'd love to see that happen in the debates. the actual voter. how is the dream going to be accessible to be.
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>> which is what biden does really, really well. >> you know what's interesting, melissa, stepping back for a minute, part of the problem with the debates and the natural discussion, we tend to agree with what the facts are. we can't agree what the structural issues are. if we can't agree that this number is the number under the deficit or this platform is the platform for taxes, how can you have a substantive debate? >> the republicans have actively attempted to say that numbers can be manipulated. >> sure. >> we had 7, 8% job numbers. i do think if we're going to have -- we have to have agreement about what constitutes evidence. >> that's my point about why i think biden is a much stronger debater than obama. take one specific a.m. example. how many times did obama miss in the debate this week to pin romney down on the specific question of okay, you want to cut taxes across the board, you want to be deficit neutral and
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you have a broad promise to close loopholes and deductions. let's spell ought out what the deductions are. let's specify mitt romney which ones you say you'll go after and which ones you'll protect. biden is really -- i think you're right. ryan we see in this campaign, interviews he had something new. follow-up questions. >> when we come back, we're going to talk more about this. we know there's a problem of biden bromance. i want to know whether or not paul ryan is willing to go hard in for mitt romney. i'm going to gargle during the break. or get the yard ready for cool an energy weather?n to size? the answer? a lot less. the great american fix-up is going on now... ...with new projects every week and big savings every day. so you can do what needs to be done.
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i want to take you inside
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the white house to see the president as i see him every day. day after day, night after night i sat beside him as he made one gutsy decision after the other. i got to see firsthand what drove this man. one of the things i learned about barack is the enormity of his heart and i think he learned about me, the depth of my loyalty to him. >> so michelle obama may have been married to her husband for 20 years, but in that clip from the dnc, joe biden's making a strong case for his position as the number two most devoted person to president obama. if his words weren't clear enough, let me state it plain. joe biden hearts barack obama. we will no doubt see evidence of that bromance unfold thursday night. on the other hand, mitt romney's put paul ryan in the position where he has to defend statements like this. >>
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. >> so it feels like passionate romance and a marriage of convenience here between these two. is that the key thing that a vp has to be is basically champion for his principal? is that what people are looking for in the vp debate? >> unless the vp think they don't have much of a shot. in which case he has to think ahead to the next election cycle. it's clear to me what's what paul ryan is doing. so he should be. >> the interesting thing here, way back when they put ryan on the ticket, i thought i understood why. i thought the calculation was romney looked and said all summer long, i've been behind. this isn't budging. i need something dramatic here. i i'm going to run on the paul
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ryan plan. maybe it's translated as courageous and bold. they put ryan on the ticket and panicked and said wait a minute. we can't run of these ideas. they've tried to turn paul ryan into a generic -- i propose this medicare plan. we're not talking about that now. we're talking about barack obama's failed leadership. he's basically behaved like rob portman would have bee had as a running mate. they want the boring running mate. i think you're right. they usually think about me, paul ryan was everybody conservative republican five years ago. this was a great springboard for the future getting on this ticket. i'm starting to look at it and say, if romney/ryan does not win, his stock could go down long-term. >> here's the unfortunate truth. the last time a vice presidential nominee made a difference is when 1960 when lbj for texas. that's number one.
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number two, vice presidential running mates always, first thing is do no harm. we learned that obviously from sarah palin. most americans look at the vice presidential debate and say i'm still going to vote for romney or the president. unless there's a game changer like a sarah palin moment. that's not going to happen on thursday. i go back to my original point. these are two very smart people sticking to the talking points. at the end of the day, now what ryan does do for the ticket is he energizes the base on the republican side. also remember back in 2008 that joe biden and barack obama were not friends. this was a political marriage of convenience. joe biden was -- >> he has come to love him. >> understandably so. same thing with dick cheney and george w. bush. just psychologically it's like dick cheney was the grandfather that's been around for a couple times. back to romney. the question is, whether or not vice president biden will make a gaffe or if congressman ryan
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will say something that's so outlandish like the 47% that would be a game changer. that most likely won't happen. >> like the 30% he's already said? >> that doesn't -- >> it feels to me like the issue is do no harm. the question, the game changer is the -- >> the game changer is to the negative. doing harm. >> he has plenty, ryan has plenty of his own statements to defend. there could be an interesting dynamic where he spirals into defense of the many ludicrous and inaccurate things he's said where biden has more experience and a very clear agenda staying boiled to the president. you know, there is a little bit of a wildcard. maybe not a huge one. but ryan is smart. but also very self-centered. so he could get really caught up. >> i wonder, is there an actual skill to being a vice president? we joke that the only thing touf do is stay alive, right? but in the sarah palin case,
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there was this sense that wait a minute, by putting her on the ticket, if she isn't adequate to be president, it makes me question john mccain's judgment. are they above the bar where there's no real quality difference? >> i think there's an open question about ryan. he can be glib and telegenic that comes across as competent where palin didn't have that skill. we can't say l about. j was the last time a vice president made -- palin in 2008 is a dramatic one. estimates that it was one, 1.5 points is what she cost john mccain for being on the ticket. which is huge. think back to dan quayle. i've never seen a more dramatic contrast between the competence of the two vice presidential candidates, lloyd benson, this old testament authority and dan quayle and benson delivered that devastating line. michael dukakis lost the election but the race tightened
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towards the end. there was a lot of considerat n consideration -- >> let me ask one last question here on this particular issue. is this going to be more fun for joe biden than 2008 was because sarah palin was someone that he had to pull punches against both because she was a woman, but also because it would not have looked good to beat up on her? is this more fun for him? >> i think he was dancing a delicate dance in 2008. you'll see he's up the p 90x 9% body fat guy. he can go as hard as he wants to. after the debate last week, he has to. >> chloe, i want to take up the issue you brought up is whether or not they are looking ahead, whether or not what they're actually doing is running for 2016. that's next. [ female announcer ] born from the naturally sweet monk fruit,
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the last point i'll make is rudy giuliani doesn't know what he's talking about. he's the most uninformed person in foreign policy running for president. number one. >> you remember that? that was when senator joe biden during a 2007 democratic primary debate. that was back when joe biden wasn't trying to be the next to barack obama. he was trying to be president obama or at least he wanted the same job that barack obama currently holds. that was biden's second time going for the nation's top spot. and here's what we know. that he really, really wanted to be president. and it is not a long logical leap to deduce that now he might be thinking he could be president. then again, joe biden is turning 70 next month. if he ends up doing another four-year stint at vice president, he may want to retire back to delaware with jill and her family. whatever. paul ryan, on the other hand, he's got nothing but time.
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42 years old, the congressman has already proven his ambition for political power and a even shorter logical leap to wonder if he is thinking about 2016. do that for me. handicap. are these two guys imagining themselves on the presidential debate stage next time? >> absolutely. there's no question about it. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if their boss, quote-unquote loses in 2012, the next step is 2016. any vice presidential nominee that has lost an election gone on to run for president almost always. >> biden, he doesn't have to wait for his guy to lose. if his guy wins, he's in a better position, right? >> maybe not. his challenge is hillary. that's a different conversation. >> i don't have enough voice to talk about that one. >> i don't think biden had any chance in 2016. has to have obama re-elected this year. his ticket is to be the loyal vice president, have the second term go well. a 60% approval rating. the continuity becomes the
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argument and democrats want to reward the loyalty. you're right, we said in the run up to 2008 that hillary clinton was the most dominant front-runner in politics. that had nothing on what we should be if she decided to run in 2016. >> can i just -- no. i got to tell you. you know, i know she's enormously popular right now but it's because she's not running. i mean, it's not that hard to be that popular. >> but a lot of democrats are saying, wait a minute, she literally got shafted in 2008. this is not fair. this is her turn and thus -- look, this is -- >> they're saying, she's been a loyal soldier for the last eight years, quote-unquote. she has to run. >> i said it in '08. i'll say it in '16. it is not a place for loyalty or for mrs. clinton. it is an indication about one's own ability.
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i think she's fantastic. i really do. i also think that american voters don't particularly like older women. we won't even buy like makeup from older women. i think even as i was talking about joe biden being 70, hillary clinton as an aging woman becomes less and less appealing to american voters. not in the way that -- just in a way that i think is -- >> you think hillary clinton fits into that category. she's an interesting unique person and clearly a household name. a lot of democratic donors are whispering and saying, you know what if hillary is in, i simply cannot go for joe biden. >> i cannot -- i think biden represents a drastically underrepresented constituency in this country, people who occasionally drop the f-bomb. as a member of that constituency -- >> please don't do it now. >> as a member of that underserved constituency and someone who feels passionately about things against women, i'm
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in. >> even as we talk about all the old heads, the names we already know, the point of the obama story is no one could have said his name four years previously. when i look at the gop bench, quite honestly, i see a deep bench, many of them first generation, second generation, other folks who were coming through. >> i think there is the new face of american leadership. it's hard to tell who is going to be on the ticket in 2016. i would like to put in a plug for the challenges that ryan is going to have on foreign policy if he thinks that his experience is around sending people to war. i mean we're looking at an increasingly savvy, diverse electorate. young people. i do think the age will hurt joe biden. i want to say as big a fan i am of hillary. even though i run a nonpartisan organization. i think it will matter.
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an aging woman versus an aging man is a big issue. i also think he's going to be 74, right? that's going to be a tough -- >> get more of the pictures shirtless. i'm with you. i really do have a great deal of respect for secretary of state clinton. she's an extraordinary person within american politics. i don't know if she's the next president after this one. let's get through this election first. up next, what becomes of losing vice presidential candidates. it's time for a pop quiz. we've got stickers. >> you know who loves debates? who? >> the fishes. the fish eat bait. >> i get. it's a thinker. i like that. >> it is a thinker. big bird, everyone. ♪
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[ male announcer ] jill and her mouth have lived a great life. but she has some dental issues she's not happy about. so i introduced jill to crest pro-health for life. selected for people over 50. pro-health for life is a toothpaste that defends against tender, inflamed gums, sensitivity and weak enamel. conditions people over 50 experience. crest pro-health for life. so jill can keep living the good life. crest. life opens up when you do.
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that's 3 moves, 5 jobs, 2 newborns. it's no wonder i'm getting gray. but kate -- still looks like...kate. with nice'n easy, all they see is you -- in one simple step, nice'n easy with colorblend technology, gives expert highlights and lowlights. for color that's perfectly true to you. i don't know all her secrets, but i do know kate's more beautiful now, than the day i married her. with the expert highlights and lowlights of nice 'n easy, all they see is you. paul ryan has been a darling
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of the republican party for the past few years. seen as a leader, a visionary, possibly the future of the gop. after that description, risk taker. risk taker. because running for vice president and losing is actually rarely a steppingstone on the ladder of political trajectory. after all, can you name the last vice presidential losing candidate who then went on to be elected? well, anywhere? don't answer. because i have a pop quiz. ♪ okay. so panel here's the challenge today. i'm going to read to you the name of a losing vice presidential candidate. and then you will -- i'm going to read you a brief description about a losing vice presidential candidate. you'll tell me which candidate you think it was and ring in your bells to get acknowledged. here we go. first question. which vp candidate who lost a bid recently escaped jail time on campaign fraud charges?
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>> john edwards. >> you got it. >> thank you. >> very good. i love nerdland stickers. republican remembers our deep shame. with edwards running against -- with john kerry in 2004 and that amazing debate between dick cheney and john edwards. that was one of my most fun. number two. after losing the race, this man returned to new york to continue his law practice. he also acted in american express commercials. oh, wow. i was going to show you a little bit. actually, let's take a little bit of a look. but steve kornacki may know. >> do you know me? i ran for vice president of the united states in '64. so i shouldn't have troublie charging a meal, should i? with this, they treat me as though i had won. >> william miller. >> steve kornacki knows william miller. when we sit around in nerdland and think about this, oh, this is the one that nobody can get.
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of course, william miller. of course it is. which unsuccessful vp candidate returned to serve as governor for 264 days before stepping down. >> sarah palin. >> very good. although there is a weird gender coherence thing going on. being, it was sarah palin. she remained governor of alaska for almost nine month before becoming the world's biggest facebooker updater. >> there was at least a while in this race a question whether or not she was going to be in the hat for the vp. but no. not this time. okay. next question. which losing vice presidential candidate went on to lose two other high-profile elections but did become ambassador to japan and special envoy to indonesia. >> george h.w. bush. >> it was not. >> walter mondale. >> that's right. that's right. >> george h.w. bush did become
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the president of the united states. >> that's right. >> yes. >> you remember those years. >> yes, he was. fun fact. when mondale ran for senator in minnesota he gained a unique and unpleasant distinction. he was the only person to lost a statewide election in all 50 states as of nominee of a major party. he lost in the presidential election. >> that's pretty -- >> next question. this is the losing vice presidential candidate who 20 years later went on to lose his bid for the presidency but made a star comeback in the pepsi commercial. >> bob dole. >> you can both get stickers. that's right. it was bob dole. he made other kinds of commercials. >> down boy. >> last question. so not all is lost if mr. ryan doesn't win, there's at least
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one losing vice presidential nominee who became president. who was it? >> franklin roosevelt. >> yes. it was of course franklin roosevelt who not only became president but got to be president longer than anybody else. thanks to everybody for playing. steve, thanks for taking all the stickers. >> we're a team here. >> be sure to watch steve every weekday on the cycle at 3:00 p.m. eastern. the rest will be back. we'll be talking about immigrant communities that you never hear about. and spirit of malibu is an awesome place to be. introducing the all-new 2013 chevrolet malibu eco. ♪ sophisticated new styling, the fuel-saving intelligence of eassist, 37 mpg highway, and up to 580 highway miles on a single tank of gas. ♪ the all-new 2013 chevrolet malibu eco. ♪
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if we want to improve our schools... ...what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ...nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. 5% of those currently serving in the u.s. congress are latino. despite the u.s. population. 2.5% in congress are asian or pacific islander. even though they make up 5% of
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the nation's population. those disparities could all change come november 6th. a report to be issued tomorrow at a new american leaders project examines how demographics and redistricting have created a record number of opportunities for immigrant communities to gain political office. this chart shows the breakdown of first and second generation candidates running for congress by their ethnicity. now, note that almost 70% of candidates represented here are latino with polls showing the majority of them expected to win their races. asian americans could see changes too. for example, new york state could be poised for its first asian american to congress. that person with me now. assembly woman grace payne is running in the new york's 6th congressional district. also with me, sayu bhojwani who is founding director of the new american leaders project, a national organization focused on
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preparing first and second generation americans for civic leadership. she's an immigrant of indian descent raised in belize. chloe angyal and michael traynham. tell me about this report coming out tomorrow. >> we're here to talk about the very important milestone of having this many candidates, 80 congressional candidates from immigrant communities. i want to be clear that that includes latinos. i think it's important to mark that moment. i also want to say that it's not a coincidental thing. as you said, demographics, redistricting immigrant voter engagement by nonprofits. but the thing that we found to be most dramatic is that it actually is not going to shift the representation all that much. so even in the best case scenario, if the record -- we have a record number of asian americans for example running. in the best case scenario, if what the polls say come true, we'll remain steady at ten asian americans in congress.
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in terms of the latino population, because it's 16% of the country, in order for us to have adequate representation, a proportionate representation needs to be about 86 congressional members. we're going to in the best case scenario get to 37. part of it is is, look, it's great we're here. these excite things are happening. but there's still a long road ahead. >> your story is an interesting one. you're running in a newly district, district 6. it's an open seat. would you have run against an incumbent or was the fact that this was an open seat part of what encouraged you to run. >> the current congressman representing the district, he's done a tremendous job for 30 years. he's always paid a lot of attention to the asian community. that's not something that would have crossed my mind. >> so part of it was kind of the open seat opportunity here in. >> definitely. >> so tell me, you're a public interest lawyer. why jump into the political realm in. >> i've been in the new york state assembly for about 3.5
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years now. if elected, yes, i will one of at best case scenario, ten asian americans in congress. right now, i'm actually the only asian serving in state legislature. so even though it's a small improvement, it's a great improvement for me. i'm really excited. i think that being in congress gives me a tremendous platform to advocate for better and more services and resources for my district. i think that that's something that i've always tried to put people first and put families first. i'm proud to be an american daughter of immigrants and hope to continue that service at the congressional level. >> sayu, part of what i loved about this, instead of being the idea of immigrants as a problem to be solved. it's an idea of immigrants being problem solvers. how do we shift that conversation? >> that is the main focus of our work. one of the things we do in the training is to encourage participants to own that experience in the way that grace just did. because we do have some
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high-profile governors from asian american and latino communities would are not necessarily owning their immigrant background. so i think seeing both the narrative, the immigrant narrative as a value-based experience that you can connect to other minority and other americans is really important. you know, it's step by step at the local and state level. in places where i think at the local level there is a lot more willingness to embrace those individuals because they're part of the community. and there isn't that other -- i'm not saying that it's all love and kisses everywhere. >> right. make it look like yes, it's a campaign. >> there is that less of a sense of otherness if you're working with the person in the community, if they're a parent of a kid in your school. and so i think starting at that level does make a difference. frankly, the local and state level is where people sort of cut their teeth in terms of national office. >> chloe, i'm interested in how
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race or ethnic identity ends up laying on top of the immigrant identity. in part, because if i look at you, you don't look like an immigrant. in part, because the language of immigration has come to mean all these other racialized elements. when you think about this, obviously immigrants from european countries have long been at the front and center of american politics. >> what i think is so interesting about what you're saying is what immigrant narratives do we accept as american immigrant narratives. if you take it from the rnc, there are some that we are attached to. as time goes on, we integrate the newer ones and we start frankly using them as political tools and props in our political conversation. that's both a blessing and a curse. but i think it's my family came over to the states from eastern europe about a century ago. and i came over from australia about seven years ago.
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you're right, no one would these days think of me as an immigrant anymore. that's partly an ethnicity issue and sort of a political and historical narrative issue. >> i'm going to let you in on this when we come back. the growing diversity of american politics. if you are one of the millions of men who have used androgel 1%, there's big news. presenting androgel 1.62%. both are used to treat men with low testosterone. androgel 1.62% is from the makers of the number one prescribed testosterone replacement therapy. it raises your testosterone levels, and... is concentrated, so you could use less gel. and with androgel 1.62%, you can save on your monthly prescription. [ male announcer ] dosing and application sites between these products differ. women and children should avoid contact with application sites. discontinue androgel and call your doctor
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welcome back. we're talking about the record number of candidates from immigrant communities who are running for office this election psyche am. robert, i want to let you in on this. there definitely has been both at the rnc and the dnc, there were immigrant narratives, but it sounded very different. you had any a love, martinez, telling their immigrant stories. really different than what we were hearing from others. >> mia love is of haitian dee
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cent. what i find interesting about this conversation, no one will admit this, it is really the browning of america and how this country is changing in a good way and thus in the process by people. because we're becoming more and more browner if, you will, our legislature, our elected officials should be reflective of that, right? i know in the republican party, that's always a very uncomfortable conversation to have. the reason why and i believe this is code -- you know what shall the america that i grew up in is not the same anymore. it feels different. what are you really saying here? are you saying that the values of our system are changing or are you saying that this country does not look as white as it used to be. that's really what i think the underlying conversation i think we should have but it's an uncomfortable conversation to have. >> this year was the first time that more than 50% of children who were born in this year were born to parents who were nonwhite or one parent was. >> our next asian president, our
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next indian president is out there. he or she will most likely be elected in our lifetime -- >> as long as it's not bobby jindal. >> what about marco rubio. >> as long as it's not bobby jindal, i'm probably okay. >> was there any sense to you that sort of the immigrant communities -- the sort of stories of your family were part of that sense of public service? >> definitely. growing up, my family has a strong christian background. and what we've been always encouraged, my grandmother sort of the matriarch of our family. she's always told us, regardless of what profession you choose, it's important to give back to this community. that america gave us all a chance for a better opportunity, for a good education. it's very important to give back. so now, that's something that i'm trying to do. as a state legislator, i've not only been sort of a liaison between constituents and government agencies, but i've also tried to be someone, some sort of a bridge builder.
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to encourage newer americans and newer immigrants to get involved in the political process, to get involved in their communities and to do what they can. >> yes. >> do you consider yourself an american first and of asian descent second or vice versa or are they interchangeable? >> it's interchangeable for me. >> the immigrant narrative that's part of the american story robert is talking about. the american values, although president obama is undoubtedly 100% american born in the united states of mesh, he also has a way of talking about the country that sometimes feels to me almost like that immigrant narrative that sense of no other country in the world is like this one. you know, no other place has given us these sorts of opportunities. do you see that sort of like merits of what's going on with this new crop of elected officials, potential elected officials? >> absolutely. i think there's a level of optimism that immigrant communities feel about the
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american democracy. >> that's the word i was looking for. >> we're drawn here for very specific reasons. you know, people say that immigrants are hard working. you know, there's billions of people in india that are not -- groups have been self-selected to come to this country and be hard working and be part of this narrative. we see that optoptimism. i want to say something about arizona. it's a place where you can feel and be miserable and depress, but we had an optimistic group of people we trained in arizona. we trained 19 people, most of whom were latinos. four ran for office for school board, state senate and congress. i think that really says something about the strength of our belief in what this country offers. >> it feels to me like you also thought the civil rights movement for african-americans took the opportunity of the franchise to run for office. if you don't like those laws, you become a lawmaker.
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>> become part of the solution. i think that's -- i want to just say about president obama, he's one of the reasons that people are so mobilized by himment you can identify with him on multiple levels. i like to think of president obama as an immigrant. certainly a child of an immigrant. there are multiple levels at which you can identify with that and it gave people his election also mobilized a lot of different folks to feel that something was possible. >> certainly a cosmopolitan citizen having lived in schools, indonesia, a half sister who was indonesian. as well as american like. that idea of a cosmopolitan person is part what the immigrant story is. grace, i wish you great luck in your campaign. thank you, sayu, robert and chloe are back for me. next we're talking about affirmative action. jack, you're a little boring. boring. boring. [ jack ] after lauren broke up with me, i went to the citi private pass page
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welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry in new york. with laryngitis. on wednesday, the supreme court heard arguments in fisher versus the university of texas. that outcome of that case could eradicate the use of affirmative action in the college admissions process as we know it. at the table, kenji yoshino, professor at nyu school of law, the acting president and director and counsel of the naacp legal defense fund and back with us chloe angyal and robert traynham. talk to me about the history of affirmative action. where does it begin and how do we get to where we are today? >> because this case is coming out of texas. the history should begin with sweat v painter. it cleared the way for brown versus board of education. it was in the days where texas stood for exclusion and didn't want african-americans to go to the flagship institution. thorough good won that case and we got brown.
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in that case, the court recognized that the flagship institution in the university of texas was superior to the alternative. that was an important marker and in the cases that followed, including the case which was a challenge to affirmative action out of university of california, the court said diversity could be a plus factor, race could be a plus factor but -- that's how it evolved until we got to the university of michigan cases in the early 2000s. >> i want to go back on the texas thing for a bit. it's lbj who initially makes this claim for affirmatively furthering fairness. it's insufficient to say you're now equal. he has this language about taking off the shackles and go run, you have affirmatively further it. >> i think that's exactly right. the we is what does equality require? it grew out of our history which imposed specific burdens on members of our society.
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slavery, racism, jim crowe. they will had impacts. lbj in the '60s is saying how do we move forward? you can't let the shackles down and think we have equality. you have to work to make equality. that's where the concept was rooted initially. >> this notion though of a reparation or repair tiff as foekt affirmative action goes away in michigan. the michigan cases which are ultimately up for debate now, tell us about those. >> absolutely. there are two rationales under the constitution, one is the immediate -- the other one is the diversity rationale. there's been a movement away from the remedial rationale towards the diversity rationale. harvard law professor says it's a better move because it makes people, minority groups, look like they are burying gifts rather than grievances which this language that i love. like she does, i feel like we've
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moved too far from the remedial aspiration. but you're exactly right. once we get to the michigan case, 2003 case we have the diversity rationale being asserted by the university of michigan law school. the united states supreme court for the first time upholds under the diversity rationale race conscious affirmative action program by a majority of the court. this creates a safe harbor. schools know what they need to do to pass constitutional muster. the reason it was upheld was because it was a holistic consideration of the individual. it could have looked at race neutral alternatives. it treated every individual as an individual. it didn't have a set aside. i want to emphasize that point as well. i think that people often associate affirmative action with quota. >> quotas have not been constitutionally permissible in private institutions for years. title vi of the civil rights act
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moves -- the equal protection clause. the institution receiving federal funds would run afoul of this if they engaged in a quota. they've not been since 1978. >> there's no sort of black seats or brown seats set aside in a classroom that said this language of gift and grievances still always concerns me because it feels to me like the object is still the white statement in the classroom. right? my body is useful in that classroom because i create diversity for that white student to therefore, be a better fortune 500 ceo someday, right? rather than the sense that there's something valuable in ij indica educating those bodies themselves. >> i think that the university, at best can be broader than that. if we have a diverse classroom, then everybody benefits from that. every single person. racial minorities benefit, white students benefit from it. i think that the critique that
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you're raising is one that many individuals hold, which is it requires racial minorities to perform identities in a certain way. you're being admitted because you're bringing diversity to the table, you better -- >> what if you let robert traynham in and he's african-american but he's a republican. he has -- >> what i love about this is that there's a theory of dive e diversi diversity-based affirmative action. back in a little known concurrence and case back in the 1980s where he says -- this is a direct response to justice thomas' claim if you bring whites and blacks together, they're not going to be that different. right? and stevens' rejoin der is yes, exactly. but they're not going to know that there are all these underlying -- they're not going to understand that there's a broad range of diversity within the racial group unless they're rubbing elbows with each other. we don't understand until we're
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in the same room or at the same table. >> i hate to pick on you. there's this notion of performing your identity for me is part of what's distressing about the diversity narrative. robert, typically, this has tracked not along partisan lines but ideological lines where more conservative individuals have said they're against affirmative action. as we're looking at what is likely to be the end of affirmative action in american higher education, there any distress that you feel about what that might mean for diversity in our classroom? >> this is a tough one for me for numerous reasons. number one, let me say i believe in affirmative action. all the races have historically been oppressed. to use lbj's specific words, to your point, you cannot unsack will someone and expect them to run a race immediately. that can't be happening. this is a struggle for me because if i understand the fisher case, she has a point.
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her point is, i think, i'm qualified, i got accepted to all these other schools. but just in the process, i couldn't get accepted in the university of texas because of an underlying quota system or point-based system that basically said my understanding is university of texas has 52,000 students. out of those 52,000, 5% are black. that doesn't represent texas. texas has 12%. hispanics 18%. statewide is 39%. what texas i think is trying to do is trying to diversify it's community through a point-based system, right? >> not -- it's actually that they have a race blind policy system for the vast majority of the students. the top 10% of all high school graduates no matter what high school you graduate from -- >> from texas? >> right. gets into texas state system but not necessarily the flagship. is that right? >> the top 10% gets in. they get guaranteed admission.
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this gives you diversity because of the residential segregation and segregated schools. you have many racially identifiable schools. it gives you a measure of diversity. after the hish mitsch cases were decided, texas decide thad it wanted to take on some of what the court said was possible to consider race for the remaining graduates, together with a multitude of factors. so it's decidedly not a quota-based system or specific points system. there are academic factors and other factors, leadership, do you come from a single parent home. did you work while in high school in. >> you get points for that. my understanding, for your leadership capabilities or potential, that's graded on a point system per se, is it not? how do you grade that? >> i think it's a range of factors. -- texas is not shooting for any set number of african-americans or latinos. >> what fascinates me is that abigail fisher, the plaintiff in
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this case is going to the court. she's a white woman. we know that of course, that gender diversity has been an incredibly important part of the affirmative action there. >> that's true. i want to get to that in a second. i want to take issue with the top 10% program is race mutual or race blind. it absolutely is not. we are talking about 81% of the entering the class at ut austin came from the top 10% program. that leaves 19% of spots for people whose admission are being decided on other factors. if you look at something like the dallas independent school district where only 5% of students are white, so 95% of the students are nonwhite, african-american students who took their sats or acts. 49% tested college ready. the disparities in education and resources start long before you're applying to admission for u.t. austin. i think yes, the tpp program is race mutual in theory, in practice. it is absolutely not.
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>> it's race neutral but also problem at cli gives us a state in racial segregation. if you're at the top 10% of predominantly black school, you still get admission but there's actual value in residential segregation because that's the only way that a 10% program can create racial integration. i shouldn't be talking this much. i have so much to say. when we come back, more on affirmative action and if race-based affirmative action isn't going to work, is there a better alternative? that's next.
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♪ sleep train ♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪ we are back and talking about affirmative action. there are two words that i want to discuss. the word merit an the word
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entitlement. i also want to talk a little more about the fisher case itself. but i really want to play with these ideas because i feel like there's a kind of underlying angst about affirmative action. this idea that people without merit get something to which they are not entitled. first talk to me what the legal language is around merit and entitlement. then i want to push back on what our other notions of it are. >> i guess colleges admit folks based on a range of criteria. some focus heavily on test scores, grades, school of graduation. but very often they have a multitude of factors in the mix. the reason for this is that colleges understand that the students learn as much from each other in the classroom and outside the classroom as they do by virtue of some specific accomplishment in the past. it's about -- >> i like to believe that as a college professor they learn outside the classroom. i get that is true. >> not talking about your
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lectures. >> with each other. right. >> what affirmative action currently does in the vast majority of places in a post michigan world is that it simply is taking into account racial diversity as part of what constitutes a meritorious environment, right? we're already past a place where race is like the thumb on the scale, right? >> i guess i would put it differently. i would say it's not a rigid quota. it can operate as a plus factor, but to some people would be viewed as a thumb on the scale. the brief that was sort of moving to me in looking at the case going -- o the fisher going up to the supreme court, oral arguments are on wednesday, is a brief written by deans of harvard and yale. notice that harvard and yale are where anine of the justices
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graduated. when we do admissions, we do a holistic merit-based analysis. if we build a diverse class, racial diversity is one component of that excellence. don't take our word for it. go to mckenzie and mckenzie has done amazing consulting work with fortune 500. again, we can have queasiness about whether or not that's a metric, whether it's a social justice issue, engaging in mediation rather than this is good for the bottom line. going back to the 2003 case, the briefs moving to sandra day o'connor, it was now being swapped out by alito which is why many are worried. the briefs moving to sandra day o'connor, they were the green briefs. the briefs from the military and the fortune 500 corporations. they said do not dry up our pipelines please.
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we get our talent from you universities. if you stop the universities from actually producing diverse candidates, then we're going to be set back in our quest for both diversity and remediation. i don't think that the two ideals can be seen at loggerheads with each other. we're not put to the choice. >> o'connor is part of the difficulty. she said i think in 25 years, we won't theed this anymore. i want to go directly towards o'connor on this. in part, she says we expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interests approved today. >> this number drives me crazy. where does this 25-year number come from? it comes that she's deciding this case in 2003 and that was 1978. that was 25 years. i kid you not, that's how she gets the 25 years. justin ginsburg says we're really talking about 50 years or
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something like that. my former judge to say -- i think what she meant, this is a biblical 40. it's a generation and not 25, not 50. it's a generation until this gets better. >> the thing is though what it still misses in terms of generations of delegates, there was a massive affirmative action program between 1945 and 1955. and it was an affirmative action predominantly for white americans. it was what created the american middle class. it was social security, it was the g.i. bill, it was the fha loans. it was about a billion dollars -- hundred billion dollars worth of investments into american human capital, low interest loans and small businesses. >> you never ever hear that referred to as affirmative action. >> i mean it was -- it was the government saying we're going to invest in this group of people who have less and the -- it's not additive, it's multiplik
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tiff. every decade from which they were shut out by mostly southern democrats shall grows and grows and grows. then the new investments in the '70s, is like that much compared to that much. it's difficult to imagine in 25 years or a biblical 40 you end up with it going far enough. >> you said something to me during the break that was really interesting. you said what is it with all these white women plaintiffs. i think what part of what is catching people's imagination about the case where than if it happened today, i don't think it would make it to the supreme court. it's because it's a white woman. it's not a stodgy old man aggrieved by long haired kids on my lawn. this is a young woman who -- most likely to benefit from affirmative action in america. it's important to consider this in a larger historical context. in america, we have a long history of implementing unjust
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or sometimes inhuman policies and actions in the name of drying up white women's tears. i think we really need to think carefully about that as we're looking at this young white woman bringing her grievance about not going into the one school that she really wanted to. >> even toe we're toward the end of this, give at least one policy or historical example. i get you. i want to make sure that viewers know when you say problematic policies to manage white women's angst, what do you mean quite specifically? >> i'm talking things like lynching african-american men for looking at wrong way at a white woman and for violating her white womanly virtue. >> so on that, i promise -- no. i think it's critically important particularly when we think about the senate never passed the dire anti-lynching bill so much so that the senate apologize to the people for not passing the bill. it was tied up with race and gender and particularly around
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white women. it is fascinating to make that historical connection. up next, more on the supreme court and the issue of affirmative action. with the spark cash card from capital one,
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awesome!!! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? traditionally when we talk about affirmative action, we discuss it from a race-based perspective. there's a new push to look at it from a class policy. is this the new frontier? kenji, normally you talk me down when i'm panicked about a supreme court decision. you said this one is going down. how bad is it going to be? >> this is where i sort of push you down the ledge and run downstairs to catch you. i can't talk you off the lenl. i do think what's going to happen is that the texas program is going to be limited. so there are two options. they could overrule the 2003 case from the university of michigan. they could say, instead of it
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being 25 years, lo and behold it was only nine years because the personnel at the court has changed. alternatively and this is my hope, they could go much narrower than that. they could go look, there's a 10% program. just to clarify, they're both right. legally they're neutral. the programs have said we're talking the 10%. the reason that it was put into place was so that the top 10% of highly segregated high schools would be admitted into the u.t. system. it has the effect, has a positive impact on racial minorities. the question is in this case, if that program is constitutional, which it probably is, 80-plus percent of individuals at u.t. are being admitted under that 10% program today. the question is what happens to the remainder who are being admitted under a race conscious program. abigail fisher is not saying i
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was in the top 10%. she wasn't. what she's saying is i got aced out of a spot in that remaining sort of 15% of students. >> 19. >> thank you. 19% of students who applied to the school simply because of my race. if the court says you can have your 10% program but you can't have the plus factor because the 10% program is working so well, then that would be a relatively narrow ruling. the 10% program is a program that works ha one level. i teach at a law school. we can't adopt the program because thank goodness, colleges are not that segregated today. basically, the 10% programs viability is a race control alternative, only work in -- >> he works for a large university. works for a large state university. the 10% program as you point out was this attempt to try to honor diversity in the classroom with a new kind of policy. there's a new report out called better affirmative action by
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richard collenberg at the century foundation suggesting maybe what we need is socioeconomically-based affirmative action. is this the solution if fisher brings down affirmative action as we know it today? >> initially, doesn't have to be an either/or. very often when we see the cases cued up to the supreme court we're all counting votes before the arguments even happen. i think if we take ourselves back to michigan, everybody was saying that plan would not survive. everybody said that. almost everybody. >> who knew roberts would go for the health care reform. >> it's hard to know. that said, there is a need for colleges and universities to think about the socioeconomic gaps we have in society. higher education is about class permability. it's not about nobility in america. we're trying to make the american dream rule. where you begin doesn't dictate where you finish.
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i have no problem making that have an economic and socioeconomic dimension. my fundamental contention is that you don't need to blow up the bridge of racial inclusion in order to also embrace the socioeconomic differences that we see and i speak from my own experience. i was a person of very modest means when i applied to college. in fact, i think my classmates unloaded property worth more value than my family earned in a year or that we lived on. when i got to college, what distinguished me was not my socioeconomic differences. i had interactions on the soccer field and other places where people called me things one day a fuzzy foreigner. that was not about the money i had in my pocket. that was about the way i appeared. the person who said it to me, we became friends. we worked through that and he learned something. so he began with a pre conception but our experiences changed him. >> it's interesting. because that key of not being angst is on the one hand, yes. we have seen such a reduction of class mobility that to me, socioeconomic affirmative action
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sounds right. on the other hand, we can't reduce race to class. >> but can't you have both? what you just said a few moments ago in terms of the new deal and harry truman and so forth, dwight eisenhower having an affirmative action for white people, isn't that the same for the 21st century in some ways. it levels the playing field. if i understand this correctly, it levels the playing field but also says, regardless of who you are in terms of race, you're still created equal, but we understand that from a social economic standpoint, you're not equal. why not apply it, not necessarily to a race-based situation but more of an economic-based situation. >> for me, there's two responses to that. one is will it stand given the long-term history in this country is -- >> systematic. >> the systematic differences, but also that in the case of the initial affirmative action, those post world war ii policies, they were supposedly race neutral.
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but they were implemented in a way that had these race positive -- race negative effects. as i always am sort of on hold for what our actual implementation looks like. at the same time that i want to say there should be a critical intervention in the issue as you pointed out of low performing schools, is not necessarily about race. it's about that intersection between race and class. >> i think there's something to be said for implementing some form of socioeconomic action. because it removes a lot of the white angst and sense of lost privilege and sort of resistance to that. at the same time, i want to keep having that conversation. i don't want to wipe race off the white board and talk only about class and pretend like,a, like the two aren't interlinked and like we don't have to have a serious conversation about race had this country. >> we're going to continue this conversation and switch gears a little bit.
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yesterday we updated you with another edition of what we call this week in voter suppression. and we mentioned some big news out of ohio this week where where early voting ahead of the election was upheld in court. now the impact on the news for someone on the ground in the buckeye state. my panel is back. first i want to go to ohio and speak with the president of cincinnati's naacp. nice to see you. >> hi melissa. nice to see you too, thanks for having me on your show this morning. >> absolutely. you've been involved in this voter registration. i know that weekend directly before the election, particularly that sunday is called souls to the polls.
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tell me about this that's been reimplemented that you have that weekend, what difference is that going to make? >> first it's a great win for the citizens of the state of ohio that john hugh stead here has to have early voting saturday, sunday and monday. melissa, as you know, 93,000 people voted in 2008 during that weekend. so that was a tremendous win and so important, so what you're seeing now since that naacp, will be working with the baptist ministers in their conferences in the area getting their buses ready to make sure people get down to the polls on the last three days. the state of ohio will probably break by 50,000 votes one way or the other. so when you're talking about 93,000 people participating in 2008 in those three days, this was a significant decision by the sixth circuit court and i think a very important one. what we're focused on on the
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ground since that naacp we implemented a program where we've been sleeping out for the last five years, melissa, getting in line, i cast the first vote in hamilton county to make sure that people are aware that it is so important to participate in the political process. and people keep saying that people aren't enthusiastic. people are incredibly enthusiastic in the state of ohio. on friday, 80,000 people had requested absentee ballots. we have 555,000 people registered to vote and we're anticipating that that absentee ballot request will hit 200,000 very, very soon. >> councilman, just because i think some viewers may not understand why early voting is important. folks say hey, go out and vote on election day. for what groups of people does this early voting, particularly the weekend directly before the election, what difference does it make to which group or groups of people?
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>> clearly, african-americans heavily voted in those last three days in 2008. so any discussion about trying to stop early voting was clearly an act of suppression of the vote in the state of ohio. i think that the decision in the sixth circuit court upholding that is a clear, clear message to secretary of state john hugh stead. what we're hoping is that he will tomorrow announce what the hours will be and won't appeal to the supreme court of the united states of america. so at this point we're not even clear whether the appeal process is even over. but clearly these were actions to suppress the vote in the state of ohio. >> councilman, i really appreciate you taking the time to come out and i hope you don't have to sleep out too much longer. but i appreciate all that you and the naacp there in cincinnati, ohio, is doing. >> melissa, thank you. let me also wish you a belated
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happy birthday on october 2nd. happy birthday to you. >> thank you. my birthday was october 2nd and my wedding anniversary is october 3rd. so when the president was complaining about having to debate on his wedding anniversary, i was like, i'm watching on my wedding anniversary. very nice to see you. >> thank you so much for having me. yes. >> thank you so much. when we come back, we're going to take this issue back to the panel.
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supreme court? if it does, should i be terrified about going to a john roberts supreme court? >> i think there will be a case going to the supreme court growing out of these challenges. the clock is against everybody here. because even the uncertainty of an outcome is affecting the elections on the ground. people need to know what the rules are. if you need to have a photo identification, it takes time to get it. that was the rationale for blocking the law in pennsylvania and we've seen it in other places. knowing whether or not you can vote early on the last weekend, it matters. we immediate to know these things. but the important thing, is the history in our country is that democracy has been contested. there's a narrative that it's an inevitable march forward. but we began small and incrementally added to our constitution a whole bunch of times to add us to the party. >> not goodwill but with struggle. >> and blood sweat and tears. what we're seeing now, what the folks sleeping in ohio are doing is they are claiming our democratic tradition in the highest principle.
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they're not allowing us to have high principles and low practices. >> that's the silver lining. i agree with you a thousand percent. i was in a barbershop last week. >> which is all knowledge and wisdom. >> in terms of voter apathy shall not voting, it's pretty high, at least in my barbershop. my barber specifically said i need to understand this voter i.d. stuff. i immediate to know what i need to have. >> what an interesting moment i said. this is a delicious moment where someone quite frankly is apathetic about politics, could careless about the voting process has decided because of what he heard on the street, said you know what, i need to empower myself and i need to vote. the silver lining, you can argue about several thin. but at the very least people are getting fired up and people want to understand them and abide by them. >> the other silver lining is that hoping to god that all
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these laws are struck down or blocked, that the republican's agenda has been laid bare. when we talk about systemic and structural bare wrers to political participation and representation, this is a really visible public attempt. it's important for people to know this is something the republicans are trying to pull off. >> as we've been watching this march through the courts, it occurs to me that we don't talk much about fact one of the things the president does is to appoint members of the federal judiciary committee not only the supreme court but the appeals court. >> that lasts for generations. >> this is where a president has an impact that goes far beyond his four or eight terms in office. talk to me about that. i know that president obama has been criticized by some on the left for putting moderates on the court. there are three openings on the u.s. appeals court right now. what are we facing in terms of the stakes of a federal
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judiciary in this election? >> i think that the stakes are huge. we have four justices in the united states supreme court who are aged 74 or over with ruth bader ginsburg and briar being the 74-year-old. the next president will have the capacity to replace now some of the justices. it's a very, very haunting issue. i think -- i was trying to crystallize how to -- i was trying to figure out how to convey this most precisely. i think the way it can do it is to say we fight a lot over justice kennedy being the swing vote in all the debates. but justice kennedy only gotta pointed after bourque went down. >> right. >> imagine if bourque was confirmed and justice kennedy had never made it on the court. we wouldn't be fighting over that central fifth vote. that fifth vote would o belong
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to the right wing of the court. >> right. >> the decisions are so incredibly consequential. one of the most consequential parts of this election about what you want your supreme court to look like. >> the justices know that. they know that -- that's probably why they're hanging on saying you know what, if obama is elected, i'm probably going to step down now. obviously, if he gets re-elected, if i'm scalia, i'm going to hang on to 2016. they know that. they know the legacy is -- i don't like to say the court is political. it kind of is. >> like justice marshall said, if i die, he allegedly said to a clerk, if i die in the court, just keep on going. >> this is the deep inner meshing of the court and the politics you have. you have the lower courts deciding about these voter suppression issues, which will in many ways decide who gets to show up and cast their votes for the president and then that president is going to decide what the composition of that court looks like. at every point a decision made by a secretary of state in ohio
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can have intergenerational consequentials from reproductive rights to affirmative action. >> elderly voters as well. my grandma who is 98 careers old. she was born before women had the right to vote. she was born in 1914. she's not that mobile. she's still going strong. but she doesn't drive anymore. she's having a bad day on a election day, she'll do everything she can to get to the polls, but if she can't, she doesn't get to vote. something like early voting is an opportunity for thoer participate in the democracy that she has -- that her generation defended. >> this is part of -- if you have to pick up the elderly mother or grandmother, it is much easier to schedule to do that on a saturday than on a tuesday which is a workday. >> exactly. >> these challenges. i think what happens the narrative about individualism. if you want to vote, get
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yourselves out there and figure it out. we don't think must have about the barriers. being australian, you're from a country where do you not put up barriers. you mandate voting. >> it's compulsory. it really upsets me sometimes coming from a place where voting is mandatory, there's a light fine of $20 if you don't vote, really upsets me to hear americans and americans in general touting it as the greatest democracy in the world when you make it so difficult to vote. you do it on a workday. you erect structural barriers and it's -- >> like registration. >> australia happens on a saturday. there's -- you were comparing it to -- part of the social fabric, like fourth of july. we have barbecues sometimes at your polling place. it upsets me to not just to hear americans talking about how perfect and brilliant their democracy is, but also punishing people financially who want to
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vote rather than punishing people for not -- >> to be fair to the system to be transparent, you can vote by absentee ballot. if you feel you're elderly or if you are and you want to vote in person but you're not sure you can do it in person, granted the reason we have elections on tuesday it's the whole farming system. there's a whole history behind that. i agree it's outdated. i agree with you it's not particularly convenient. we thought we had -- we got this right with help america vote acts of 2002. that fiasco of florida, we don't have it right. the unfortunate truth is, you're right, we make it very, very inconvenient for a lot of our citizens to vote. we have to change that? >> tuesday is your last day to register. there are some that say the registration for many americans, they may not be aware that tuesday will be your last day to register. let me also just say this. that this week in voter suppression which we're talking about up to the election, i think part of the question is whether or not we'll continue to have, not just here at nerdland,
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but whether or not we as an american populous will continue to have an attention span for this after the concept is decided. however it's decided. there are these basic structural issues about our democracy. no matter which party ends up winning the white house. more in a moment. but about our democracy, no matter who wins, more coming up. time for a preview with alex witt. there was a vice presidential debate, with sarah palin, joe biden, also a new poll shows mitt romney is closing the gap, but could walmart moms help the president? results of a new study. plus, office politics, new jersey governor sharing her thoughts, and something she shares in common with ronald reagan, plus thoughts on the heartland, and what could help the president. and big bird, fighting for his life. melissa, fighting for her voice, tea, honey. >> i got to tell you, we were
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watching big bird, just clapping. >> just laughing, go big bird. >> thank you, alex. and up next, i think it is time to redefine what strong looks like. stay top of mind with customers? from deals that bring them in with an offer...
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okay i know i am at risk of sounding like i'm part of that saturday night live skit that spoofed the speech. but the american presidency is weak, it makes the office look -- allows him with the consent of congress to appoint cabinet members and other executive officials. he can conduct foreign affairs, but even then, his appointments must be approved by the house of representatives. these roles are modest compared
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to other governments and compared to the extensive powers given to the branch of the u.s. government. but while the office is constitutionally weak, american presidents have often had enormous power. this comes through each of the offices of the individual presidents to persuade, to wield influence, and at times that power has seemed almost boundless. presidential scholar has more on the presidential strength, underlying our notion of what makes a good president. for many citizens, the president is the ideal of america, and many value strength above all else. which is why of course so many were agast about president obama's performance on wednesday night. they were left asking is he weak? and if he is weak, are we, as a nation, weak? so deep breath, let's pause for a moment and think about what aspects of strength we value. it takes strength to deal
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honestly with your opponents, even when they deal dishonestly with you. it takes strength to take the tough calls, even when you are not sure how they will turn out. it takes strength to have the patience to watch policy become progress. and it takes strength to admit mistakes and change direction when needed. and every parent knows it takes untold strength to do this. >> come on, come on -- >> okay. yeah, calming a crying baby is not actually presidential, it is just my favorite obama moment. because here is the deal. the presidency itself is weak, which is why americans want presidents themselves to be strong. i just encourage us not to confuse aggressiveness with strength. and that is our show for today,
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thank you to ken g, robert and chloe for sticking around. also, thank you for joining us, despite my laryngitis, and we'll see you next weekend. coming up next, alex witt. ♪ ♪ [ multiple sounds making melodic tune ] ♪ [ male announcer ] at northrop grumman, every innovation, every solution, comes together for a single purpose -- to make the world a safer place. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman.
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